Previewed 7 March 2008, Opened 25 March 2008, Closed 14 June 2008 at the Gielgud Theatre in London
Yasmina Reza's play God of Carnage in London starring Ralph Fiennes, Tamsin Greig, Janet McTeer, Ken Stott
What happens when two sets of parents meet up to deal with the unruly behaviour of their children? A calm and rational debate between grown-ups about the need to teach kids how to behave properly? Or a hysterical night of name-calling, tantrums and tears before bedtime? Boys will be boys, but the adults are usually worse - much worse.
The cast features Ralph Fiennes as 'Alain Reille', Tamsin Greig as 'Annette Reille', Janet McTeer as 'Veronique Vallon', and Ken Stott as 'Michel Vallon'.
Yasmina Reza's God of Carnage is translated by Christopher Hampton. Directed Matthew Warchus with desigs by Mark Thompson, lighting by Hugh Vanstone, music by Gary Yershon, and sound by Simon Baker.
Ralph Fiennes' London theatre credits include the title role in Adrian Noble's revival of Henrik Ibsen's Brand at the Haymarket Theatre in 2003; the title role of 'Nikolai Ivanov' in Jonathan Kent's revival of Anton Chekhov's Ivanov at the Almeida Theatre in 1997; and 'Romeo' in Declan Donnellan's revival of William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet at the Regent's Park Open Air Theatre in 1986.
Tamsin Greig's West End theatre credits include playing the role of 'Beatrice' in Marianne Elliott's revival of William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, for the Royal Shakespeare Company, at the Novello Theatre in 2006.
Janet McTeer's London stage credits include playing the title role in Phyllida Lloyd's revival of Friedrich Schiller's Mary Stuart at the Donmar Warehouse, and transfer to the Apollo Theatre in 2005; the title role in Phyllida Lloyd's revival of John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi at the National Theatre's Lyttelton Theatre in 2003; Phyllida Lloyd's revival of William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew at the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in 2003; and 'Nora Helmer' in Anthony Page's revival of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House at the Playhouse Theatre in 1997.
Ken Stott's London theatre credits include playing the roles of 'Philippe' in Thea Sharrock's production of Gerald Sibleyras' Heroes at the Wyndham's Theatre in 2006; 'Frank' in Jonathan Kent's revival of Brian Friel's Faith Healer at the Almeida Theatre at King's Cross in 2001; 'Alceste' in Lindsay Posner's revival of Moliere's The Misanthrope at the Young Vic Theatre in 1996; and 'Yvan' in the original cast of Matthew Warchus' production of Yasmina Reza's Art at the Wyndham's Theatre in 1996.
"God of Carnage is a hoot. Stripping the mask off the polite bourgeois face to reveal the snarling animal beneath, Yasmina Reza's standard trick, is hardly original, but it's entertaining... A cruel and sparkling text is helped by four immaculately dovetailed performances, finely controlled by Matthew Warchus's direction. Christopher Hampton has again translated [Yasmina Reza's] work (brilliantly) into a knockabout English satire" The Sunday Times
"Blisteringly funny as the piece is in Christopher Hampton's elegant translation, it stops short of the merciless laceration of Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? - theatre's most celebrated booze-fuelled marital slugfest. That is partly because Reza's ideas seem to be imposed on, rather than emerging from, her characters. Nor, as Albee succeeds in doing, and as Reza presumably intends, does the play become a metaphor for the decline and fall of Western civilisation. Instead, with her razor-sharp wit, Reza exposes the hypocrisy of the educated middle classes and the corpse that is their married life... Matthew Warchus's production sparks with high-voltage performances." The Mail on Sunday
Yasmina Reza was partly inspired to write The God of Carnage following a conversation she had with her own son: "One of his friends had had his tooth broken by another boy. The mother of my son's friend complained that the boy's parents hadn't even rung up to apologise. I don't know why but something just clicked."
Matthew Warchus, the director of God of Carnage in London, says: "What appeals to me about Yasmina Reza's plays is that she picks a tiny subject or situation, and from it reveals universal truths. She somehow manages to write epic drama from a miniature position... The kind of drama she's interested in is a world in which somebody vomits, or somebody draws a skier on a white painting, or enters a room and overhears something that they shouldn't have. In a way her plays remind me of Chekhov's."
God of Carnage in London at the Gielgud Theatre previewed from 7 March 2008, opened on 25 March 2008 and closed on 14 June 2008.